SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)- The fact that Imamate is a Divine covenant and Allah specifies it has been argued by rational and Qur’anic proofs and the consecutively-narrated sunnat. ‘Allamah Hilli has established one thousand proofs of this issue in Alfain, and in fact this issue has its roots in the unity of Allah, and like the principle of Divine Unity, it comprises unity of rulership and authority over creation:
لَهُ الْحُكْمُ وَلَهُ الأَمْرُ وَهُوَ السُّلْطَانُ وَهُوَ الحَاكِمُ وَهُوَ الوَلِيُّ وَهُوَ العَالِمُ بِمَصَالِحِ عِبَادِهِ لاَ أَمْرٌ وَ لاَ نَهِيٌّ لِأَحَدٍ دُوْنِهِ
“His is the command and rule, He is the King and the Ruler and the One in authority, He is the one who is cognizant of the interests of His servants. Commanding and Forbidding is for none save Him.”
In the issue of the necessity of sinlessness and being the most knowledgeable as well, abundant rational, Qur’anic, and narrational proofs exist, among which is this verse:
أَفَمَنْ يَهْدِي إِلى الْحَقِّ أَحَقُّ أَنْ يَتْبَعَ أَمَّنْ لاَ يَهْدِي إِلاَّ أَنْ يُهْدى
“Then is one who guides to the truth more worthy to be followed, or one who does not find guidance except by being guided?”1
The late ‘Allamah has also established one thousand proofs about the issue of the necessity of sinlessness.
Regarding the principle that the earth shall not remain without a Proof and Imam, in addition to verses such as:
وَلِكُلِّ قَوْمٍ هَادٍ
“And every people has a guide.”
وَلَقَدْ وَصَّلْنَا لَهُمْ الْقَوْلَ
“And certainly we conveyed them the verses of Qur’an continuously.”
يَوْمَ نَدْعُو كُلُّ أُنَاسِ بِإِمَامِهِمْ
“The day when We will call every people with their leader.”
Mutawatir traditions are also found, among which is the well-known tradition of Kumail ibn Ziyad from Amir al-Mu’minin (peace be upon him) which has been mentioned in Nahjul-Balagha and all other books of Zaydi and Twelver Shi‘a and even in the reliable books of the Sunnis, such as Tadhkirat ul-Huffaz. From this it is known that all are agreed that the earth will never be empty of a Proof; of course, it makes no difference whether the Proof is apparent or hidden.
And in Sawa`iq and other books of the Sunnis, a discourse has been related from Imam Zain al-`Abidin (peace be upon him) in which it has been explicitly mentioned that the world is not without an Imam from the Ahl-ul-Bayt (peace be upon them).
These principles have even been explicated in the supplications of the Imams from Ahl-ul-Bayt (peace be upon them). In this regard, we will suffice with only a portion of the supplication of the day of `Arafah from Imam Zain al-‘Abidin (peace be upon him). That personage says:
اللَّـهُـمَّ إِنَّكَ أَيَّدْتَ دِينَكَ فِي كُلِّ أَوَانٍ بِإِمَامٍ أَقَمْتَهُ عَلَمًا لِعِبَادِكَ وَ مَنَارًا فِي بِلاَدِكَ بَعْدَ أَنْ وَصَلْتَ حَبْلَهُ بِحَبْلِكَ وَ جَعَلْتَهُ الذَّرِيعَةَ إِلَى رِضْوَانِكَ وَ افْتَرَضْتَ طَاعَتَهُ وَ حَذَّرْتَ مَعْصِيَتَهُ وَ أَمَرْتَ بِامْتِثَالِ أَوَامِرِهِ وَ الِانْتِهَآءِ عِنْدَ نَهْيِهِ وَ أَن لاَ يَتَقَدَّمَهُ مُتَقَدِّمٌوَ لاَ يَتَأَخَّرَ عَنْهُ مُتَأَخِّرٌ فَهُوَ عِصْمَةُ اللاَئِذِينَ وَ كَهْفُ الْمُۆْمِنِينَ وَ عُرْوَةُ الْمُتَمَسِّكِينَ وَ بَهَآءُ الْعَالَمِينَ
“Allah! You have supported your religion in every age with an Imam whom You established as a standard for Your servants and a beacon in Your lands, after You linked his covenant with Yours and made him the means of Your pleasure, made obligatory his obedience and cautioned against his disobedience, commanded to execute his commands and shun what he forbids and that none should precede him nor stay back from him. Thus he is the guard of those seeking refuge and the recourse of the believers, handle of those who grasp (guidance) and the glory of the inhabitants of the universe.”
Anyone who looks carefully at this portion of the supplication will both come to recognize the Shi‘a viewpoint regarding the principle of Imamate and will also understand that this station and these affairs were established for the Imam from the beginning and no one has added anything to them.
As for the issue that “Whoever dies without recognizing the Imam of his time dies the death of ignorance,” this is also a principle which reliable traditions have conveyed explicitly. The reliable traditions of Thaqalain (the two weighty things), Safina (the ship of salvation), and Aman (safety) all indicate this point.
And it has been explicitly mentioned in mutawatir traditions that the Imams are twelve personages, all of whom are from the Ahl-ul-Bayt of the Prophet, and eleven of them are from the progeny of ‘Ali and Fatimah (peace be upon them), the first of them being Amir al-Mu’minin (peace be upon him), and after him Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (peace be upon him), followed by the Prince of Martyrs Imam Hussein (peace be upon him), and after him nine people from his progeny, of whom the ninth””who is the twelfth Imam””is Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his return).
Thus, since these principles have been established with firm proofs, eminent scholars such as Shaykh al-Tusi, Shaykh al-Mufid, Ibn Babawayh, ‘Allamah Majlisi (Allah’s mercy upon them all) have refuted by relying on these principles the statement of anyone who, previous to their time or subsequent to it, has said something to the contrary or given attention to a rare and unaccepted tradition. This is because the buttress of the proofs of these principles is reliable to an extent that it can even be claimed that after the principle of Divine unity and prophecy, no principle is so reliable.
In view of all this, no Shi‘a scholar has held that the rising of the Qa’im (may Allah hasten his return) will occur after his death. And if anyone has brought up baseless possibilities, taking into account the points mentioned and since they are completely against objective realities, they must not be given any attention, since they have no scientific value.
After this preface and explanation of this point, the life and long occultation of the Imam has been established on the basis of these principles. There remains no room for this tradition that says the Qa’im (may Allah hasten his return) will rise after death, since this notion would result in the severing of the thread of Imamte, the earth’s remaining without the existence of a sinless Imam, and the refutation of many traditions which indicate the life and long occultation of that personage.
Aside from all of these objections, the above-mentioned tradition’s chain of narrators is not reliable, and none of the `Ulama’ or Fuqaha’ (jurists) has relied on such traditions in even a single secondary issue. This is because one of the narrators is Musa ibn Sa`dan al-Hannat, whom scholars of rijal (the science of the study of narrators) have described as weak and whose narration they consider unreliable. He has narrated this tradition from ‘Abdullah ibn Qasim, whom they have titled “The Ever-Lying Hero.” He in turn narrates from Abu Sa`id al-Khurasani, and if we don’t consider his existence unknown according to reference books of rijal, then his position””in terms of being truthful or dishonest””is unclear.